7 Tips for Entertaining Children on Journeys is a paid feature
Once you arrive at your holiday destination, there are always plenty of things for children to do, see and explore. However, for some parents, the nightmare is how to keep their kids entertained until then. Films often show happy families singing and laughing together in high spirits on route to the resort. In reality, kids will keep whining ‘Are we there yet?’ while boredom often leads to tantrums and squabbling. This leaves parents feeling distinctly frazzled when they do finally arrive.
To prevent this happening to you, we have prepared our top tips on how to make sure your journey goes without a hitch. Whether you’re travelling within the UK by car or taking a flight to pick up your boat hire Greece, we have 7 ideas about how to keep your kids amused on the journey.
1. Preparing a Travel Bag
Don’t count on your children to choose the right things to bring with them for the journey. Make sure that you go through their bag with them so that they choose toys and/or games which will distract them for more than 5 minutes but aren’t too bulky.
All kids love the novelty and excitement of something new so it’s a good idea to stock up on some new things for the journey. These needn’t be expensive items. Activity, sticker and/or puzzle books plus a set of crayons or coloured pencils can be found cheaply in most pound shops or supermarkets. There are a wide range of books available which cater for different age groups and a child’s specific interests – whether that is animals or superheroes. Also, allow kids to choose their favourite magazine or comic before you leave. This is the kind of treat that goes down well when you are travelling.
2. Preparing a Route Map
Telling children that you’re ‘nearly’ there won’t stop them asking again and again. Instead, prepare a map of the route you’ll be taking. There are plenty available online and you can print a copy for each child.
For plane journeys, you could mark off the countries you’ll be flying over. Include some information about each country and have a worksheet depending on your children’s ages. This could involve colouring in a picture of the country’s flag or filling in some information about famous monuments, food or products from each country.
If you’re travelling by car or public transport, you could print off the route you’ll be taking with information about each city and/or county.
When travelling by car, it might be worth breaking your journey at one of the places you’ll be passing through. Not only will it give kids a chance to stretch their legs but you could incorporate a stop at a tourist attraction located there. This will break up your journey and give you the opportunity to discuss what you’ve seen and what they particularly liked about it once you resume your journey.
3. Providing Snacks
Travelling can make some kids hungry so make sure you prepare some snacks. For especially young kids, eating can take up to 30 minutes of the journey. Although you will probably include some filling snacks like cereal bars and fruit, pack some ‘forbidden’ snacks too such as sweets and crisps. After all, holidays are a chance for all age groups to indulge themselves!
4. Traditional games
A journey (when you have a captive audience) is the ideal time to introduce your children to some of the games you used to play which don’t depend on electronic devices.
Games like hangman, noughts and crosses and battleships need nothing more than paper and pencils. Don’t forget to pack a deck of playing cards too. Depending on the age of your children, you could play games like snap, fish and solitaire.
Many board games are also available in travel versions. This makes them easy to carry and can amuse your kids for a few hours. Some can be purchased as magnetic versions so that you avoid the danger of essential pieces getting lost on the floor.
5. Individual/Team Games
Some of the pastimes ideal for a journey don’t need any equipment at all. Games like I Spy, 20 questions and the fortunately/unfortunately storytelling game need nothing more than some imagination and a competitive spirit.
These games could even be played as a mini tournament with one adult acting as a referee. Award points for the best answers but organise the travelling group into teams with a spread of ages to make it fair.
6. Audio Books
When travelling by car, it is usually impossible to cater to everyone’s tastes by listening to some music on the radio or a CD. A nice compromise is to listen to an audio book instead. Try to find a story which can be broken up into ‘episodes’ and allow a break between each one to give everyone a chance to do something else. Particularly long stories could even last the whole holiday and be kept for the return journey too to drag out the suspense.
7. Electronic Devices
There is a wide range of electronic devices which can come in handy in keeping your kids amused. The danger is not to rely on them too much. Individual handheld electronic devices like tablets should be kept for the end of the journey once you have exhausted all the other entertainment possibilities.
Before leaving home, ensure that all devices are fully-charged and that each child has their own set of headphones to avoid disturbing others, especially when travelling on public transport.
For younger kids, download some games, songs/nursery rhymes, TV shows and/or films beforehand. This should be a mixture of their favourites as well as new ones which you think they would enjoy.
Once the journey has finished, you should impose some rules about how often these devices can be used while away. After all, the idea of a holiday is to explore new places, see new sights and spend some quality time together as a family away from the stresses of your everyday routine.
We all look forward to time away so we want to get our holidays off to a good start. An enjoyable journey without fuss means that you arrive feeling relaxed and eager to start your holiday.